Position Announcement: Curator of Oceania, Harvard University Peabody Museum

The Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University seeks an experienced curator with expertise in the ethnography of either Pacific Islands (including Australia), Africa, or Asia, with a preference for Oceania. The Peabody Museum holds a premier collection of material culture, both archaeological and ethnographic, from around the globe. The Peabody Museum is closely allied with two academic departments at Harvard, the departments of Anthropology and Human and Evolutionary Biology. Collections are intensively used in teaching and research by these and many other academic departments.

Please note: this position is a full-time curatorial position with no academic responsibilities or departmental affiliation. The Peabody Museum is unable to provide work authorization and/or visa sponsorship.

The Museum Curator performs curatorial functions and regular assignments as approved by the Deputy Director using their own judgment and determines methods and procedures on new projects, and is held accountable for end results. Responsible for determining when supervisor or others should be consulted, curators have discretion to make decisions within the scope of their responsibilities. Complex assignments are occasionally reviewed upon completion.

  • Responsible for documentation, research, presentation, interpretation and development of the collections
  • Organizes and maintains department offices, storage and study rooms
  • Makes recommendations for conservation and consults on conservation work and collection safety and storage
  • Curates and coordinates exhibits as assigned
  • Conducts and publishes research
  • Contributes to programming (lectures, workshops, conferences, fellow selection)
  • Recommends purchases or gifts, and advises on the intellectual content of proposed accessions and deaccessions for the Collections
  • Identifies and obtains funds for research, exhibitions, and programs from individuals and foundations
  • Helps to maintain collection records in keeping with professional practices
  • Responds to researcher and student requests and consults with visiting researchers
  • Performs other duties as required

The Collections
Pacific Islands and Australia

Collected largely by eighteenth-century Boston merchants, traders, and researchers during their Pacific voyages, the 23,000 items of this significant collection include many rare and exceptional pieces. Highlights include Easter Island tapa figures and carved wooden statues; Hawaiian feather capes and helmets; Maori carved door panels, bowls, and human figures; Javanese shadow puppets; and Micronesian canoes and shell jewelry.

The Museum's ethnographic holdings include over 16,000 items in four significant collections. The three principal collections, gathered from Liberia, southern Cameroon, and Uganda during the first half of the twentieth century, include a diverse range of objects used in daily or ritual life. The fourth collection contains more than 200 musical instruments ranging from drums to hand pianos. Archaeological collections are represented by George Reisner's excavations in Egypt and Nubia.

The Museum's Asian ethnographic holdings are small (about 8,000) but very fine with one of the earliest collections of objects made and used by the Ainu, Japan's indigenous people; Japanese and Chinese ceramics and porcelains; colorful textiles made by the Kachin, the tribal peoples living in northeastern Myanmar (Burma) and contiguous areas of India and China, and by the Shan, a people related to the Thai, and Siberian hide costumes and carved wooden household items. Archaeological materials dominate the Asia collections with an extensive collection of excavated artifacts from Tepe Yahya (Iran), Tarsus (Turkey), Vietnam, and China.

  • 7+ years of progressively relevant professional experience including Museum curatorial experience
  • Ph.D. in Anthropology preferred
  • Expertise in the ethnography of Pacific Islands and Australia (preferred), Africa, or Asia
  • Experience working with descendent communities
  • Demonstrated writing, public speaking, research, and organizational skills
  • Ability to travel as needed

More here